Hi and welcome to the latest Squire fan club newsletter where we celebrate Squire's Powerpop connection, get excited by some upcoming live dates, and play the unheard mono mix of Debbie Jones!
First of all September sees Squire return to the live stage and our first date is Saturday September 24th in London at The Lexington, Islington for the ‘Pump It Up - A Powerpop Weekender’ Festival which features such luminaries as The Speedways, The Yum Yums and of course Squire! We will be performing a special set that focuses on our power pop repertoire!
This is quickly followed by a special date with From The Jam on October 1st In Loughborough, and then a second London date on 10th October at 100 Club in Oxford Street, a venue we have played so many times it feels like a second home! This time we are playing with PH2 which includes Bob Manton and Jeff Shadbolt from the original Purple Hearts. Since this is their Central London debut of their new band, anticipation is high, and Im sure they will be playing many Purple Hearts classics so it will be quite an event!
We first played with Bob & Jeff on April 26 1979 when they supported Squire at Ronnie Scotts, and they returned the favour by tipping us off and making sure we were included on their subsequent live dates, so this will be a fun reunion occasion. The last date of the year booked so far is on December 11th in Blackpool, a rare date for us as we last played in Blackpool on 1979! This is again with PH2 and is already sold out!
Although 'power pop is what we play' is actually credited to Pete Townshend in 1967 when promoting 'Pictures of Lily', the term came to prominence in the UK in the mid 70s to describe bands such as The Records, Nick Lowe, The Pleasers, The Jags, The Motors and even The New Hearts
who morphed into Secret Affair, to label a cadre of bands who eschewed the Clash/Sex Pistols nihilistic approach and had adapted a mix of guitar pop and harmonies, often referencing 1960s bands that had been forgotten on the other side of punk, and combining it with a stylistic attitude of classic teen pop. While the genre was short lived and tended to be passed over by the weekly music press, it preceded then ran parallel to the Mod Revival and the Powerpop description broadened to become an umbrella that often includes not only ‘Skinny Tie Guitar Pop’ and `Mod' but also ‘New Wave’ bands that followed punk such as The Undertones, the ‘Art Rock’ sounds of XTC, and any guitar based band that focus on three minute catchy harmony driven pop songs! Hence the perfect fit for Squire, and we even supported The Records during May 1979!
At the same time in America, bands such as Cheap Trick, The Knack, The Cars and The Raspberries were creating a 'British Invasion' inspired powerpop, which extended into the 1980s with The Plimsouls, 20/20 and so many other American bands, and ensured the continuing cult following of the style, all the way up to the current regular International Pop Overthrow events, that Squire often play when possible, curated by David Bash, and the myriad of magazines, on line blogs, tsunami of record releases and never ending supply of bands that fit right in!
Squire’s own Powerpop connection may have started with supporting The Records, but continued as we searched in 1980 for a bass player. In fact we auditioned Nick Powell, originally guitarist with The Pleasers, and then rehearsed extensively with Steve Prudence who played bass for The Jags! Indeed, Steve was such a contender we went as far as photo shoot sessions that were later used for ‘No Time Tomorrow’ as you can see here!
We eventually decided to wait until we were ready to play live again, and Jon Bicknell joined us in time for the Girl On A Train recordings and the subsequent live dates!
Last week we considered the inspiration behind the September Gurls album and the second song chosen for the album was from The Shoes Black Vinyl Shoes LP. ‘Boys Don’t Lie’ was recorded by an American band who approached their music in a similar way to early Squire, independently produced and even used a four track TEAC for their album!
One of the pleasures of running a record label and being in touch with fans all over the world is that they were always tipping us off about their favourite bands, records that were amazing but buried on a small label, or deleted gems and this is how we discovered The Australian band The Clones and their perfect song ‘Tired Of Hiding’ written by Mark Alchin who went onto form The Reasons Why.
His band name also inspired the title of the Squire song ‘The Reasons Why’, which made it onto the Expanded Edition of September Gurls, released in 2019! Other songs considered but not recorded were, LA band The Wail’s song 45 Degrees and Hilo Records own Beat Direction’s ‘Nina’ as we ran through a selection of songs to hear what would be a good fit for Squire.
In the end the album was shortened to a mini album so we could get to the studio, and it was the two originals ‘Debbie Jones’ and the closing track ‘Can You Tell Me When’ that provided a glimpse of how far the sound of Squire had developed, providing a guitar dominant sound more reminiscent of The Beatles Revolver than their subsequent Sgt Pepper, which Get Smart perhaps takes as a model. In the same vein as The Beatles albums, the Squire tracks were conceived and assembled as mono soundscapes, and although the stereo versions are the enduring legacy, it is the mono version that provides the key to the energy and interplay in the backing track that drives the songs.
The unheard monophonic version of Debbie Jones provides the perfect example of the tense wound up energy within the song that explodes in the coda!
We hope you enjoy this mix and hope to see you soon!
All the best from Squire!